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Sometimes I look at my kids’ lives, and think they are spoiled rotten. They have so much many kids only dream about. There’s a fine line of providing and teaching we, as parents, have to walk. Where do we draw that line? I’m sure, at times, I fail by spoiling my kids rotten in the worst ways, and fail to capitalize on the important teaching moments.

I try to find the balance on material things, though. I try to teach my kids that life is not all about the stuff. It’s about the relationship we build with others. Just because they are given my attention, love, and yes, toys in their playroom too, doesn’t mean they will turn out to be rotten. It is with the attention I give to them that I am teaching them to be grateful for all those things as well. The goal of finding a balance between spoiled and grateful is always on my mind. I aim to to give a healthy balance of need and want, AND teach them to always meet kindness with gratitude.

My kids are spoiled with more love than they know what to do with. They receive more kisses and hugs than they can count every day. They are spoiled with healthy food at every meal, and a house that is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I spoil them with clean pajamas and warm sheets on their beds. I spoil them with books full of rhymes, facts, and silly tongue twisters. They are spoiled with trips to the zoo and the library to feed their curiosity.

We spoil them with answers to their questions—the silly and the serious. They are spoiled with the school supplies to be successful in the classroom. They are spoiled with stability, along with a much thought-out routine. We spoil them with an example of a healthy marriage. They are spoiled with shoes that protect their feet, and warm jackets in the winter. They are spoiled with praise and coaching that builds their self-confidence. I spoil them with I love yous and songs I made up with their names placed in all the right places. I spoil them with a spot in my arms and on my lap whenever they want it. Showing kids they are special, loved and important can never make them rotten.

I hope by spoiling them with love, they know without a doubt I am always their safe place.

I hope they know I will love them unconditionally, and that they can be most comfortable and honest with me. Those are the things money can’t buy. They are spoiled rotten with love and affection. But that doesn’t mean they are rotten kids. I believe the opposite, really. Just because they are adored, doesn’t make them rotten.

Although we also often spoil them with things they want too, we teach them to be respectful and grateful when those special treats are given. We believe that taking family trips and providing them with an opportunity to experience different cities and cultures builds their acceptance of others.

The answer to candy in the check out line is almost always NO. But, the answer to “Mommy, can you hold me?” is almost always YES.

So yes, they may also be spoiled, but in the very best way. My kids are very spoiled with an abundance of love, but we are always look for the teaching moments along the way. If we all aim for that, kids can never be rotten.

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Michelle Tate

A native Texan, born and raised, I married my college sweetheart, and now spend my days raising our three young boys. In another life, I was an elementary school teacher, before diving deep in my true passion for my own babies and writing. My new children’s book, “Be” encourages kids to be the best versions of themselves while being accepting and kind to everyone they meet. Follow me on Facebook at Raising Humble Humans

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